Free tours in Denver are a great way to get an insider's look at the city. Some of the best ones take you through historic buildings such as the State Capitol building and the Governor's Mansion. You can also learn about how tea, beer, candy, and greeting cards are made.
If you love history, be sure to create a custom tour via Denver Story Trek that will allow you to visit landmarks on your own and hear in-depth descriptions about the area's historic sites. The city is filled with more than 350 works of public art, so art lovers will want to take a summer tour to hear more about select pieces.
Read on for more recommendations of free tours in Denver. You'll learn a lot without spending a dime!
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There are many free tours in Denver, but perhaps the sweetest is the Hammond's Candy Tour. Here you'll see how the candymaker handcrafts and packages nostalgic sweets such as ribbon candy, lollipops, and candy canes. You'll get a free sample, plus there's a candy store where you can buy some to take back home.
Tours are held every half an hour and last about 30 minutes each. They start at 9:15 am and end at 2:45 pm Monday to Friday. Saturday they start a bit later, at 9:45 am, and end a bit earlier at 2:15 pm. Hammond's Candy is closed on Sundays.
Reservations are required, and they fill up to the 50 person limit quickly during the busy seasons, you will want to make sure to book as far in advance as possible. Find out more about the delicious Hammond's factory tour.
The jewel of Civic Center Park in downtown Denver is the gold-domed Colorado State Capitol building. Be sure to make time to visit this gorgeous structure built in 1901 as one of the free tours in Denver.
Its impressive dome is covered in gold leaf — an acknowledgement of Colorado's Gold Rush era. You can explore the building on your own, but if you want to see the inside of the dome, you have to take a guided tour. The capitol also features a grand staircase, murals, and Mr. Brown's Attic Museum.
The building opens at 7 am and closes at 5 pm during the week. The tours are offered each hour from 10 am to 3 pm, however you'll want to check the schedule as the Capitol is closed on the weekends and also on some holidays.
It is recommended that you arrive at least 20 minutes before your tour as space is limited. Also, if you are unable to make the free tour, you are always welcome to do a self-guided tour around the building. More about visiting the Capitol.
If you are more into small batch brewed beer, then this is one of the free tours in Denver that you won't want to miss. In 1994, Great Divide Brewing Co. set up production near Coors Field in downtown. Get a look at the award-winning microbrewery's production operations in the brewhouse, then enjoy one of its 16 seasonal and regular beers on tap.
The company expanded when it opened a state-of-the-art facility in the River North (RiNo) district. Free tours are available here, too, and you'll get to see its packaging, canning, and storage processes. The taproom features limited-release, barrel-aged, and seasonal beers.
Tour times change depending on which location you are visiting and also which day. The minimum age to attend is 12 years old, and anyone from the ages of 12 to 21 must have adult supervision at all times. Find times for the Ball Park tours and Barrel Bar location here.
The landmark Boettcher Mansion on Logan Hill serves as the Colorado Governor's Mansion. The second and third floors where the governor and first family live are off-limits, but visitors can tour the rest of this beautiful 1908 home. Distinguishing features of the governor's residence include a Roman Ionic colonnade.
The mansion is open for free tours in the summer and at Christmastime. You can check out the home at your own pace, or take a guided tour that lasts about 45 minutes. The guided tours are extremely limited and are usually only given a few times a month. Check here for times and dates.
Taking a free guided walking tour through downtown Denver is a great way to get an overview of the city and discover what attractions you may want to return to later. The fun and informative guides will tell you about the Mile High City's history, architecture, and landmark buildings.
This tour stops at many of the city's top attractions including the capitol building, Denver Art Museum, Larimer Square, Union Station, Denver Public Library, and U.S. Mint.
You'll cover about two miles of easy terrain (suitable for wheelchairs and strollers) in two hours. The tour begins at 10 a.m. on the front steps of the Colorado State Capitol and concludes at Union Station. Tours are daily May 1 through Oct. 1 and just on the weekends from Nov. 1 to April 30.
Reservations are not required for groups of 7 people or less. Note that these tours are free but you are more than welcome to give your tour guide a gratuity for their time and knowledge. Find out more about information regarding the Denver free guided walking tours here.
If you're out and about in Denver, you can't help but notice its many public art displays. However, if you want an in-depth perspective, sign up for a free walking or biking tour in the summer. There are over 10 different free tours that you can take in numerous locations through out the city.
You'll learn about small segments of the city's nearly 350 works of art that can be found on buildings, bridges, and streets. Stops may include venues such as Civic Center Park, the convention center, and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.
Tours are limited to 15 - 20 people. If you aren't able to make one of these free guided tours in Denver, then you can also go on a fun self-guided tour. Here is more information on the guided and self-guided tours.
Colorado is known for its microbreweries, but it's also home to one of the country's most popular tea companies: Celestial Seasonings. Located in Boulder, the tea manufacturer lets visitors tour its production facility to see how it blends, packages, and ships its teas. The headquarters also has the Tea Shop, Mint Room, and Celestial Cafe.
Tours are everyday at the beginning of the hour and are 30 minutes long. Tours hours Monday through Saturday are from 10 am to 4, while on Sunday they run from 11 am to 3 pm. Since Tea isn't in production on Saturdays and Sundays, I suggest you visit here on Monday through Friday if you want to see tea being made live and in person.
Children under the age of 5 are not allowed on the tour. Tickets are first come, first served, so try to arrive before your tour starts here. Find out information on the Celestial Seasoning's Tea tour.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research offers visitors a chance to learn about atmospheric science research being conducted at its laboratory in Mesa. You'll enjoy educational exhibits about climate and weather, an outdoor weather trail, an art gallery, and a film titled, "Air, Planet, People."
Guided tours are given only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 1 pm. These tours will teach you about the research being down here at this very moment. If you can't make it to those tours, there are the self-guided tours. These start at the visitor center and are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. You can also take a tablet tour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. The tablets feature audio and video information about the center's research. Here is more information on the NCAR free public tours.
One of the most unusual free tours in Denver is of the Leanin' Tree greeting card facility. This card company was founded in 1949 and makes more than 30 million cards a year at its Boulder plant.
On this 45-minute, half-mile walking tour, you'll see the huge printing presses, cutting equipment, and envelope-folding machines that are used to make greeting cards.
Also on grounds is the Museum and Sculpture Garden of Western Art, which is the private art collection of the Leanin' Tree founder. The collection honors the Old West with 250 paintings and 100 bronze sculptures.
The tours run at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm and 2 pm only. Ages 5 years and over and the tour is 20 people maximum. Find out more about the Leanin' Tree factory production tour.
Some of the most interesting free tours in Denver are organized by Denver Story Trek. This group produces several dozen interactive, self-guided tours that give the background on Denver's historic landmarks. Tours include topics such as Women of the West, Black American West Museum, Historic Downtown & Capitol Hill, and Mile High Art & Culture.
All you do is select which topic interests you, then bike, walk, or drive to the individual historical sites, after you arrive, you'll listen to the tour via your phone or downloaded audio files. It's a great way to learn about Denver history in depth, plus you can create custom tours and go at your own pace. Find out more about Denver Story Trek information.